The Crazy Suburban Mom: How To Buy At Estate Sale

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How To Buy At Estate Sale

OK, so it's Retro Tuesday here at "Crazy Suburban Mom."

Two things might happen in this space today:

  1. I might write something incredible - maybe even insightful, about how to shop at Estate Sales - How to Haggle, What to look for, or some such.
  2. I might stay on topic enough, and actually write something useful about How to Buy at Estate Sales and get lucky enough to also have this post resemble at least in spirit, whatever brilliance Tracy would have shown today.
I was minding my own business

Just doing my Twitter thing - Hanging out - trying to get noticed...maybe get a ReTweet or something, when along comes Tracy suggesting I write a Retro Tuesday post about How to Buy at Estate Sales...I said yes, before thinking the whole thing through - before remembering I get stage fright when I have to dance for the first time on a new stage.

OK, because I can, I'll digress

Question: What is Retro anyway?
Answer: Something your Dad or Mom, or their Dad or Mom might have owned and thrown away as old fashioned.

Pretty straight forward isn't it? Well it wasn't always to me - the point is, what I am coming around to learn is, that the term "Retro" doesn't mean antique. It more means "Vintage."

Tip: There are still a ton of Estate Liquidators out there who are stuck in the "If it ain't an "Antique" it has no value" rut.

They don't understand "Retro" yet...

Go to their sales and pick up all the Mad Men kind of stuff you can wrap your arms around without breaking the bank.

Before we get into The How to Buy, let's look at the What to Buy question first.

I started with post cards


Then I moved to Costume Jewelry



Then I Moved On To Sterling Silver

Then I became a Generalist

My Definition of a Generalist: Someone who knows a little, sometimes very little, about a whole lot of stuff.

Here are three things I learned about along the way...

Essex Crystal

I know what an Essex Crystal is, why you should buy every one you can find, if the price is reasonable, and how come they are not very well understood by the general market place.

Gold Quartz


I know what Gold Quartz is, and that not every estate liquidator does, that you can yell "Eureka" and make big dough if ya can find some, especially if it's in a piece of old jewelry.

Michael Price Dress Dagger


I know a lot of obscure stuff like who Michael Price is, and why you'll be worth $100,000.00 more than you are now if you should ever find one of his dress daggers. I know of story of an Estate Sales Pro who once sold one of these at an estate sale for a few hundred dollars, and all that I can say, and say with a ton of relief - it wasn't me.

But Who Cares?

Here's My Axiom: The only way to develop enough savvy in this game to find these kinds of antiques, is to develop a passion.




What I am trying to say is, I always followed my passion first - way before I followed or cared about values. I let my interest dictate what I bought, and I still do.

Did I mention that along the way I made a ton of mistakes - well I did, and every one of them taught me how to get better and better at the Estate Sales Game...guess I should mention - I am an Estate Sales Professional - no, no need to applaud though...

I guess you'll have to wait until next week to read about the "How to shop Estate Sales" bit, I was sort of, supposed to write about...

Martin Codina

4 Comments:

Maureen 9/28/10, 11:34 AM  

Interesting info. The passion manifests itself in the 'thrill of the hunt' feeling you get when you walk into an estate sale and all you can say is 'O.M.G!'.

P.S. What did you do with Tracy?

The Crazy Suburban Mom 9/28/10, 12:05 PM  

Martin - Thanks so much for the Retro Tuesday Guest post! And LOL Maureen!

I've been reading what Martin writes and visiting his site for a while and since he's way (way) more knowledgeable then me I wanted him to do a few Retro posts!

Gabriele Agustini 9/28/10, 1:19 PM  

That was a fun post.
I'd wear that sterling silver bracelet in a heart-beat!!
Cool stuff!!
More please!! :)

Fine Estate Sales 9/28/10, 1:54 PM  

Maureen: Thanks...for the comment. And I aggree "The Thrill Of The Hunt" Keeps me both going to estate sales as well as conducting them.

Tracy: Thanks for your oh so kind words...

Gabriele: The bracelet is by Patricia Von Musulin...she does them in Plexiglas as well...worth a small bundle, and definitely something you might find cheap at an estate sale

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